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“Civil” Protest?

There’s been some controversy at Northeastern University recently. Yvonne Abraham explains in the Boston Globe: “It began in April, when the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine staged a walkout at a presentation by Israeli soldiers. At the start of the event, 35 students stood, small signs taped to their shirts. One member called the […]

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The Homeless Look

by Alyssa Goldstein For the past few days, this video of writer Greg Karber giving Abercrombie & Fitch clothes to the homeless has been going viral on my Facebook newsfeed. Karber started this project in response to A&F CEO Mike Jeffries’ statement that “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then […]

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An Open Letter to Two Women on the Subway

by Alyssa Goldstein It’s February, early evening. I’m on the Q train heading home. A young man in a beat-up, threadbare coat with a large backpack gets on at Union Square. “I’m sorry to bother you,” he announces. “It’s your money, and I know you’ve worked hard to earn it. You don’t have to give […]

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Kibitznik's Choice: Jews Against Islamophobia

Remember our friend (I use that word as sarcastically as possible) Pamela Geller? You know, the one who put up the ads in the transit systems of several cities that read, “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel, defeat Jihad.” Well, she’s at it again, this […]

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Strike Debt: Rolling Jubilee

by Alyssa Goldstein So here’s an awesome thing that’s happening: Strike Debt’s Rolling Jubilee. Strike Debt is an Occupy-affiliated group that views “debt as a global system of domination and exploitation of the 99% by the 1%.” The Rolling Jubilee (which takes its name from the ancient Jewish/Christian tradition of the universal forgiveness of debt […]

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Kibitznik's Choice: Yiddishkayt

by Alyssa Goldstein If you still have electricity this week, be sure to check out Yiddishkayt’s website. Based in Los Angeles, Yiddishkayt is an educational center for Yiddish language, culture, and history. It challenges the narrative of European Jewish history as little more than a series of pogroms and massacres, and asks, “Do you know […]

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Another History is Possible

by Alyssa Goldstein I recently watched the documentary Monumental Myths, in which filmmaker Tom Triney rides across the country to visit different historical monuments and examines what kind of stories they tell. Overwhelmingly, they are the stories of (surprise!) white people, often to the denigration of American Indians and Black people. It’s worth a watch, […]

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Kibitznik's Choice: The Gan Project

by Alyssa Goldstein So I may have mentioned once or twice that I have a vague fondness (read: uncontrollable obsession) for gardening. When I heard about the Gan Project, I was understandably excited. Founded in 2010 in Chicago, the Gan Project sought to host discussions, workshops, and provide Jewish environmental education. They also cultivate an […]

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Putting the "Freedom" back in "Reproductive Freedom"

by Alyssa Goldstein Anyone who’s been paying attention to the news and to the presidential campaign probably knows that this is an increasingly scary time to be an American woman. Not only are many states passing laws which are making abortions difficult or impossible to obtain, but even contraception has become a contentious political issue. […]

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Kibitznik's Choice: Jewish Labor Committee

by Alyssa Goldstein Following the teachers’ strike in Chicago (as well as the various strikes and work stoppages here in Ramallah), I’m in a Labor state of mind this week. So I’m checking out the Jewish Labor Committee, which supports the Chicago teachers and other workers’ struggles across the country — like the aspirations of […]

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Economic Protests in Ramallah: The Word on the Street

by Alyssa Goldstein I’m reporting this week from the Jewish Currents Ramallah office (kidding. I’m just here visiting). I happen to be here at a time when the West Bank is rife with economic protests. People are angry at the rising costs of living, Palestinian Authority employees aren’t being paid their salaries, and taxi drivers […]

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Kibitznik's Choice: Occupy Rosh Hashone

by Alyssa Goldstein I’m going to be in Tel Aviv for Rosh Hashone this year, but if I was going to be in New York, I would definitely go to the Occupy Rosh Hashone service in Zucotti Park on September 16th (incidentally, the eve of the Occupy movement’s 1-year anniversary!) Anyone paying attention to Occupy […]

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Kibitznik's Choice: Ohio Workmen's Circle

by Alyssa Goldstein So I’ve given all of you in the northeast some cool stuff to get involved with in my past installments of Kibitznik’s Choice, but for those of you in the Ohio area, please be sure to check out the Workmen’s Circle: Ohio District. They offer very affordable Yiddish lessons, at $10/week for […]

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Kibbitznik's Choice: Nehirim

by Alyssa Goldstein This week, be sure to check out Nehirim: “A national community of LGBT Jews, partners and allies committed to a more just and inclusive world.” Nehirim is an organization that advocates for LGBT equality and seeks to provide a community for LGBT Jews of all religious, secular,  and spiritual stripes. In the […]

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Kibitznik's Choice: Young, Jewish, and Proud

by Alyssa Goldstein Here’s one organization that’s spent quite a bit of time in the news lately: Young, Jewish, and Proud, the youth wing of Jewish Voice for Peace. Their event “Go and Learn: Join Young Jews for Community BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] Education” stirred controversy back in May when it was abruptly canceled […]

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Some Things Shouldn't Be Sacred

by Alyssa Goldstein I was recently reading Affirming a Judaism and Jewish Identity without Zionism by South African Rabbi Brian Walt on the Jewish Voices for Peace Rabbinical Council’s blog. Walt describes his liberal Zionist past, and how his travels through Israel and Palestine eventually convinced him that the myriad human rights abuses he witnessed […]

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Kibitznik's Choice: Jews For Racial and Economic Justice

by Alyssa Goldstein Last week I told you all about the Boston Workmen’s Circle, but this week’s Jewish organization is great for those of you in New York. Jews for Racial and Economic Justice has numerous worthy campaigns to combat Islamophobia, work for affordable housing, and fight for justice for domestic workers. They press prominent […]

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The Kibbitznik’s Choice: Yiddish Farm

by Alyssa Goldstein How do you say “mushrooms” in Yiddish? (di shvom). Cucumbers? (di ugerke) Cabbage? (dos kroyt). Fertilizer? For that one, you’ll have to visit the Yiddish Farm!                       Located in New Hampton, NY, the Yiddish Farm is a summer Yiddish-language immersion program on […]

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Who Really Matters? Adventures in Beinart-Land

by Alyssa Goldstein A few days ago, liberal Zionist poster-child Peter Beinart came to Bard to give a talk. I haven’t read Beinart’s book, though I do follow his website Open Zion. I’ll be straight-up about the fact that I’m not a fan of liberal Zionism, and I didn’t expect to agree with just about […]

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Gilad Atzmon and the Problem of Jerks in your Movement

by Alyssa Goldstein A few days ago, the U.S. Palestinian Community network published a letter signed by a number of prominent Palestinian authors, intellectuals and activists (including Ali Abunimah, Nadia Hijab, and Omar Barghouti) calling for the disavowal of Gilad Atzmon for his anti-semitism. The letter states that Atzmon’s politics rest on one main overriding […]

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Blood is Thicker than Water: A Different Sort of Racism

by Alyssa Goldstein So last I was here, I left you with the promise that I’ll look more closely at anti-miscegenation stories like the ones on the Yad L’Achim website and the racist assumptions they make about Palestinians. But they’re not the racist assumptions you were probably expecting! Here’s what I was surprised to find. […]

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Historical Learnin’ Part 3: Stealing Jewish Women

by Alyssa Goldstein In my last two posts in this series, I’ve invited everyone to join me on my senior thesis adventure of discussing the role of individual bodies within Zionism, which sets up a way of understanding the current Israeli anti-miscegenation movement. In case you were thinking to yourself, after reading my last blog […]

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The Borscht Belt and the Beauty of Decay

by Alyssa Goldstein I’ve just started my senior year at Bard, where you have to write a masters-length thesis before you can graduate. Because I’ve been reading frantically about gender and Zionism and bodies and Orientalism and Theodor Herzl’s sexual anxieties, I haven’t gotten the chance to post here in awhile. But I have been […]

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The Kibbitznik: Sex and the Garden

by Alyssa Goldstein Though I’ve helped my mom put flowers in the tiny strip of dirt by our front walk since I was old enough to hold a trowel, I got seriously into gardening when I was 14 or 15. I don’t know exactly how it happened — all of a sudden I had an […]

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The Kibbitznik: Gay Marriage, Dayeinu?

by Alyssa Goldstein A few days ago, the New York State legislature voted to allow gay marriages. I wasn’t in New York that day, but I followed the proceedings on Facebook and Twitter. The legislature debated the bill until long after my bedtime, but I felt like going to sleep with the vote so near […]

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The Kibbitznik: Being Jewish, Unconventionally

by Alyssa Goldstein At the very beginning of my freshman year at Bard, I never, ever would have expected that I’d be involved in Jewish life there, much less become the head of its Jewish Students Organization. Clubs involved with socialism, the labor movement, the environment? Sure. But why would I want to go to […]

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The Kibbitznik: My Jewish Privilege

by Alyssa Goldstein Last year, Jon Stewart had Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti and Jewish-American left-wing activist  Anna Baltzer as guests on  The Daily Show. This show was tremendously controversial (for no other reason than the fact that Barghouti is Palestinian) and the interview became the most-watched Daily Show video on the internet, ever. I was […]

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The Kibbitznik: SEX!!!

by Alyssa Goldstein Now that I have your attention…I’m going to be sharing some of my thoughts on sexuality and sex education. You can do this too…in the next issue of Jewish Currents! The next topic for “Concealed/Revealed” is “In the Bedroom.” Submissions should be 300 words or less and are due by June 30th. […]

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The Kibbitznik: Rape Is Not an “Encounter”

by Alyssa Goldstein So by now pretty much everyone’s heard of the head of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s alleged rape of a chambermaid in a New York hotel. Rather than postulate about DSK’s innocence or guilt, I want to talk a bit about some of the media coverage of the case, specifically this Time Magazine […]

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The Kibbitznik: Shocked, I tell you!

by Alyssa Goldstein So it’s been a long time since I posted here, I’ve been so caught up in finals and all. I go to Bard college, which is commonly known as the “Bard Bubble” because it’s rather isolated from the rest of the world. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that things that are normal […]

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The Kibbitznik: Childhood memories

by Alyssa Goldstein As I mentioned in my intro post, I grew up in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Brooklyn. Most of my friends on my block when I was in elementary school were ultra-Orthodox Jews. I was a little bit older than most of them, so even when I felt like a huge loser at […]

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Kibbitznik

by Alyssa Goldstein Greetings, millions of potential readers. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Alyssa Goldstein, a Bard student, majoring in Sociology and Middle Eastern studies, where I’m the head of a group called Students for a Just Peace in Israel/Palestine and the former head of the Jewish Students Organization. I’m from an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood […]

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